I have an almost 3 year old daughter who just can’t decide what to wear each day if I’m towering over her waiting for an outfit. I also have an almost 5 year old son who just can’t decide which sticker to award himself with when he’s successfully made his bed in the morning.
This can be painful, to say the least, but I recognise it is something that we all face on different levels…the pressure to make a decision.
I am one of those people who need all the facts, all the evidence and all the justification to make particular decisions – So I cannot condemn my kids for being like that. I married a man, however, who is the complete opposite.
He declares it’s easy, just decide. Don’t over think it, just make a decision!
This is one of those things in our marriage that I guess if it doesn’t kill us – it will only make us stronger, and I am grateful for that. Imagine if we were both indecisive. Who knows where we’d be!
Anyway, “I just can’t decide!” is a statement that comes about more often than it should. I’m not sure if there is a hidden fear inside me, or just an uncontrollable urge to have someone decide for me. That way I don’t hold responsibility, there’s no tarnish on my name, it wasn’t my decision, I was just doing what I was told (like a good servant).
I’ve recently learned (and decided) that this is not a very fulfilling way to live and I WANT OUT!
Our lives are shaped by the decisions we make. And sure, we all make mistakes and some decisions have terrible consequences, but other decisions place us in triumph, where we overcome what is holding us back and break through our own personal barriers. That is where I want to be. On the other side of those barriers.
So when our daughter stands at the drawer, feeling like there is a right or wrong selection of clothes as I watch in anticipation, I step back. I want her to feel like she can make her own decisions. I don’t need to decide everything for her.
I’m not going to be there to dictate every move to her forever. I can only act as a guide. Once she learns that her decisions are respected and honoured then she gains confidence to make bigger decisions further down the track in life.
And hopefully, in a mother’s Prayer, she makes the right decisions. If not, then I hope to teach her how to take responsibility for the wrong decisions she’s made and learn from her mistakes. We are all human after all, and mistakes are a part of life.
As for our son, when he’s loitering over the sticker chart mumbling “um, oh, hmmm, what’s that say mum?” I can appreciate that he cares which sticker is symbolising his efforts today, and takes pride in his work.
I also find myself stepping back (instead of pressuring him to hurry up) and find that this helps him take ownership of the freedom to choose what he feels is best (quicker than if I had of stood there and negotiated through the elimination process).
Decision making is a huge part of life, I feel that I have been victimised by my own approach to making decisions. All my life I’ve been trying to avoid them, pass the buck or stay on the fence and have recently discovered this does more damage than actually making the wrong decision.
You see if we decide, and learn it was a bad decision – then we can correct it, learn from our mistakes and move on – maybe even help another person in that same situation? And if we make the right decisions, we can take that same ownership, only feeling uplifted, empowered and confident that we’ve done the right thing.
So don’t be a repeater of the statement “I just can’t decide!” Do yourself a favour. Start small. Make a decision today that you will be more decisive.
And when you feel those questions of doubt, or feel like you should revert back to the undecided stage – remind yourself “I decided ________ and I take full responsibility for the outcome!”
Teach your kids the same. You will be amazed at the fruit of independence that comes from starting this at an early age.
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